How safe is it for your pet to play with and snack on spotted lanternflies?

Molly Daly
September 17, 2019 - 6:57 pm
A cat with a spotted lanterfly.

Molly Daly/KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Pet owners are expressing both pride and concern as their dogs and cats make sport and mincemeat of the spotted lanternflies blanketing the city and suburbs. 

Dogs will eat pretty much anything, including — and in some cases, especially — what they're not supposed to.

Penn Vet's Dr. Katie Mauro, a specialist in emergency medicine, discusses just how safe it is to let your dog snack on the flashy insects.

"We don't have as much information about these spotted lanternflies as we'd like to because they're new to the area. With any of the insects that are out there, with dogs that are eating large volumes of them, they can cause irritation and inflammation to the lining of the stomach. And that can cause dogs to be less apt to eat or have vomiting or in some cases, diarrhea," Mauro said. 

Related: Infestation of spotted lanternflies hits Philly

She says cats, who are particularly sensitive to toxins, may show different effects like copious drooling.  

"Or foaming, they might even open their mouth as they drool, and that can be just from taking it into their mouth," she explained. 

She cautions you not to assume that if your pet's been mouthing or eating lanternflies, any symptoms they develop are a consequence. That could delay getting help for something unrelated, and potentially serious.

"I think it's important for owners to pay attention and be mindful, but if there's something wrong, just call your vet, reach out, see if you should bring them in," she advised.